Home Dental Care Wisdom Teeth: When Should You Get Out?

Wisdom Teeth: When Should You Get Out?

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 198 views

In about 80 percent of young people in Germany, some or all of the wisdom teeth remain in the jaw. This often causes problems – from pain to tooth decay to displacement of the neighboring teeth. Read here when wisdom teeth need to be removed and what needs to be considered after the operation.

What are wisdom teeth?

An adult usually has four wisdom teeth. They are the back molars on each side of the jaw. Wisdom teeth are formed last during the growth phase – their development is often not completed until adulthood.

The problem: many people don’t have enough space in their jaws for their wisdom teeth. As a result, they have no way of correctly aligning themselves with the row of teeth. The result: the wisdom teeth remain completely in the jaw or only partially appear. In this case, the term “retained” (held back) is used.

Impacted and erupted wisdom teeth do not have to cause any problems. In many cases, however, there are complaints. These include, among others:

  • Pains
  • inflammation of the gums
  • infections
  • swelling
  • caries
  • Displacement of adjacent teeth

The removal of wisdom teeth is therefore one of the most common outpatient surgical procedures in Germany.

When should wisdom teeth come out?

Whether wisdom teeth are extracted or not is an individual decision. They also take into account how high the probability is that problems will arise and how great the risks are in the event of an intervention.

Surgery is usually recommended for these complications of wisdom teeth:

  • infections
  • Inflammation when the wisdom tooth erupts (difficult tooth eruption = dentitio difficilis)
  • Tooth decay on the wisdom tooth
  • Pains
  • Impairments for the neighboring tooth
  • Cysts or other abnormal changes in the area
  • Disorders when clenching the teeth
  • Obstruction of other operations on the jaw

If it is clear that the wisdom teeth will be pulled, the recommendation is to do this before the age of 25 if possible.

Wisdom tooth surgery: This is important!

Wisdom teeth are usually removed in an outpatient procedure. It is possible to have the teeth extracted on each half of the jaw or several at a time. If you have to have all four wisdom teeth removed, it is advisable to plan enough time between the treatments on the right and left side. Then you can use the other side to chew while one side heals.

Only in exceptional cases is a hospital stay necessary. For example, in patients who have a tendency to bleed or have an immune system disorder.

General anesthesia or not?

A local anesthetic is usually sufficient. Anesthesia or sedative medication may be useful if the operation is difficult or in combination with other treatment measures. Even if a patient suffers from severe anxiety, anesthesia is advisable in some cases.

Process of a wisdom tooth operation

After the anesthetic is applied, the dentist opens the gums around the tooth and separates them from the bone. If the wisdom tooth is still firmly anchored in the jawbone, the dentist has to remove the bone slightly. Then he loosens the wisdom tooth with tools and removes it.

If possible, he pulls the tooth in one piece. But if this is difficult, the dentist removes it in layers.

Risks of wisdom tooth surgery

On the one hand, there are risks associated with removing a wisdom tooth that are inherent to operations. These include pain, swelling, bruising, wound infection, and rarely bleeding complications.

On the other hand, there are specific problems that arise in some cases:

  • Damage to sensory nerves often results in temporary numbness. In rare cases it is permanent.
  • Tooth extraction rarely causes serious infections such as abscesses or bone infection. A maxillary sinus infection develops very rarely.
  • In rare cases, a jaw fracture occurs up to four weeks after the operation due to heavy loads.
  • Damage to other teeth rarely occurs.

How long does the pain last after the operation?

Most patients experience pain after wisdom tooth surgery. The mouth area and cheek often swell. Often the mouth can no longer be fully opened. To keep pain and swelling as low as possible, patients usually receive pain medication from the dentist. Do not take painkillers with acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), as these have a blood-thinning effect.

After the operation, it is important to cool the affected area. Cold packs or ice cubes are suitable for this, and it is best to wrap them in a cloth to protect the skin on your cheeks.

If the operation went without complications, the pain subsides within a few days. However, if you still have clear symptoms and throbbing pain after four to five days, it is advisable to visit the dentist again. Wound infection is a possible cause of this.

In some cases, the blood clot that closes the wound also breaks loose. This is often reflected in bad breath and swelling. Even then it is important that you go to the dentist again.

Eating and drinking after wisdom tooth surgery

The anesthetics are still effective immediately after the wisdom tooth operation. Avoid hot drinks and food during this time. But there is nothing wrong with drinking cold water slowly and in sips.

Once the anesthetic wears off, it’s possible to go back to drinking warm, but not hot, drinks and eating soft foods—such as soups, mashed potatoes, or cooked vegetables. However, avoid dairy products as lactic acid bacteria can sometimes penetrate the wound and cause inflammation.

Coffee is also still taboo in the first two days after the operation. It stimulates bleeding and may lead to impaired wound healing. Make sure the food is only mildly seasoned and not too hot. Otherwise the wound will become irritated.

Both before and after wisdom tooth surgery, it is important that you do not drink alcohol. Otherwise there is a risk of interactions with the anesthetic or painkillers. Alcohol also increases blood flow and has a negative effect on blood clotting. The risk of wound infections also increases.

Always brush your teeth gently after eating and use a mouthwash . Once the strings are pulled, there are no more restrictions.

Sport after wisdom tooth surgery

Sport is taboo immediately after the wisdom tooth operation. Take it easy on the days that follow. The background: Physical stress affects and increases blood pressure. There is a risk that the wound will open. Walks are allowed.

The safest thing to do is to talk to your doctor about when you can start doing which type of sport again without any problems.

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